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Thread: Sydney AFL Finals Week 3 2017

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    Sydney AFL Finals Week 3 2017

    SYDNEY AFL PRELIMINARY FINAL 2017
    Article by Michael Shillito

    While Sydney Uni watched and waited, their Grand Final spot already booked; North Shore and Pennant Hills took to Blacktown International Sportspark on Saturday afternoon to battle it out for the other spot in Sydney footy’s biggest day.
    It was another day of glorious Sydney sunshine, the weather getting warmer and we’ve had hardly any rain for months. And, unlike what the scoring patterns would suggest, there was no wind to speak of. That the vast majority of the scoring would happen to the railway end was not a function of the weather, but of the swings and roundabouts of the constantly-changing momentum of the game.

    North Shore was kicking to what would be the scoring end in the first quarter. It was a tight opening to the game, with the defences of both sides on top and the ball travelling from end to end; but neither side able to create a coherent forward movement. The Bombers would win the quarter by three goals to one, leading by 12 points at the first change.
    The Bombers had been on top in the opening term, but the Demons lifted their intensity in the second quarter and it didn’t take long for the shape of the game to change. Just a few minutes into the second term, the Demons had added two goals and were in front. But this wasn’t a game where building a big lead would be easy, with both teams struggling for much of the quarter to get the ball into their forward 50. But there were plenty of highlights, the best of them being a screamer of a mark by Tom Angel as he flew high over an opponent’s shoulders and pulled the ball down.
    After the Demons kicked the first three goals of the quarter to take the lead, the Bombers got one back late in the term; and the Demons went into the rooms at half time with a one-point lead.
    The game opened up in the third quarter, and scoring became easier. It was still closely contested for much of the quarter. The Bombers regained the lead, but the Demons kept themselves within striking distance; and only a kick separated the two sides as the clock ticked into time-on. It had been an enthralling contest, and remained in the balance.
    But in the latter stages of the third quarter, the Bombers took the upper hand and established what looked to be a handy lead. Two late goals established a handy break, as Will Bradley weaved through traffic, shrugging off several attempted tackles, before guiding the ball through. And then in the dying seconds of the quarter, a sensational snap over his shoulder by Selby Lee-Steere established a 15-point lead. Lee-Steere raised his arms in celebration, as the Bombers had a useful lead when the three quarter time siren sounded.
    But the celebrations were premature. The Demons weren’t done yet.
    For 13 minutes, the ball travelled end to end without a goal. Time looked to be running down, and the Bombers were hanging on. But Josh Stern broke the deadlock, and suddenly the margin was down to 8 points. A long, bouncing goal evaded everyone’s fingertips. And a 50 metre penalty moments later saw the Demons take the lead.
    As the quarter drew on, and the game was there to be won, too many Bombers went missing in action. But the Demons were able to find the men to make a difference when they were needed. Players who had been kept quiet were able to make key contributions when it came to the crunch. And with the clock in time-on, the Demons had the advantgage.
    North Shore heads dropped, the sinking feeling of a Preliminary Final defeat was all too real. There would be no way to regain the initiative on the scoreboard. For everything the Bombers have achieved in 2017, at this critical moment they had nothing more to give. While the Demons kept running until the end, adding three more goals in the dying minutes for a total of six unanswered goals for the quarter.
    In the end, the winning margin for the Demons was 21 points. It’s been a remarkable season for the Demons. For much of the year, their finals hopes were looking slim. But they managed to scrape into the finals. And with three finals wins, suddenly they’re in the Grand Final; their fourth in five years. The Demons have plenty of experienced hands who have been through these big moments before; and the knowledge and expertise of Tom Angel, Ranga Ediriwickrama and Lloyd Shepherd were critical in getting the Demons over the line.
    North Shore will be disappointed in their final quarter, after leading at the last change. For the second year in a row, they were over-run in the last term of the Prelim Final and were unable to score a goal. Selby Lee-Steere, Jimmy McKenzie and Will Bradley worked tirelessly all day for the Bombers. North Shore have achieved plenty this year, and have played some good footy. But for the 10th season in a row, the Bombers will not be playing in the Premier Division Grand Final. To have come so close but miss out on a spot in the Grand Final will hurt; and this hurt will motivate them to climb the mountain in 2018.
    Sydney Uni await, rested and ready. And Pennant Hills know all too well the challenge that awaits. In the Demon rooms after the game, the team song was sung. But it was a subdued song, and celebrations were muted. The toughest test for Pennant Hills, the one that will truly define this season, is yet to come.

    And so next Saturday we have our Grand Final. Sydney Uni, front-runners for so much of this year, have one last hurdle to jump to complete a season of dominance. But they have an in-form opponent in Pennant Hills.
    History does not honour the team that wins the most games. It honours the team that wins the last game. The last team standing.
    Will the blue and gold hoops be glorious, victorious on Saturday? Or will it be a grand old flag for the team of the red and the blue? All will be revealed on Saturday at Blacktown as the premiership cup is on the line.


    Premier Division:
    Preliminary Final
    Pennant Hills 1.3 4.7 6.10 12.13 (85)
    North Shore 3.3 4.6 9.7 9.10 (64)
    Goals : Pennant Hills –
    J Stern 3, R Ediriwickrama 2, M Carey, T Angel, C Luscombe, L Skrivanic, T Edmonds, J Peatling, N Hey. North Shore – L Smailes 2, W Blackburne 2, H Carr, W Bradley, S Crane, S Lee-Steere, M Manteit.
    Best : Pennant Hills – T Angel, R Ediriwickrama, L Shepherd, J Stern, D Dell’Aquila, A Crisfield. North Shore – S Lee-Steere, J McKenzie, W Bradley, J Campbell, H MacDonald, D Schacher.
    At Blacktown International Sportspark, Saturday 9th September 2017.

    Division One:
    Preliminary Final
    St George 3.1 6.4 9.5 9.6 (60)
    Pennant Hills 0.3 0.5 2.7 7.10 (52)
    Goals : St George –
    D Napper 3, M Jones, T Tegg, D Addison, N McKenzie-Hicks, B McParland, S Randell. Pennant Hills – S Parker 2, N Low, H Angel, S Widmer, T Abbott, T Widmer.
    Best : St George – S Wilsen, B McParland, L Maze, N McKenzie-Hicks, M Webb, O Selvi. Pennant Hills – J Carroll, K Wright, S Widmer, I Pearson, P Witt, A Conway.
    At Blacktown International Sportspark, Saturday 9th September 2017.

    Division Two:
    Preliminary Final
    Western Suburbs 0.1 3.7 6.9 10.13 (73)
    Uni NSW-Eastern Suburbs 3.2 6.2 7.4 7.6 (48)
    Goals : Wests –
    C Specha 3, J Schultz 2, R Hinson, N McGowan, C McGrath, E Harper, R Cott. UNSW-ES – T Williamson 3, A Henderson, N McGann, J McKinlay, T Scheibling.
    Best : Wests – C Specha, S Stephens, N McGowan, P Boyd, J Schultz, E Harper. UNSW-ES – J McKinlay, C McKinlay, L Irvine, N McGann, M Archibald, C Knudsen.
    At Blacktown International Sportspark, Saturday 9th September 2017.

    Division Four:
    Preliminary Final
    University of Technology 4.0 6.2 7.3 10.6 (66)
    Western Magic 2.2 3.2 4.3 5.4 (34)
    Goals : UTS –
    T Allen 3, F Holzer 3, S Mitchell 3, E Taffa. Magic – L Hyland 2, D Armstrong, M Craigie, D Hurwood.
    Best : UTS – S Mitchell, F Holzer, Z Thorneycroft, T Allen, H Clark, S Silver. Magic – N Lawson, B Tranter, D Hurwood, D Glass, D Nieass, A Carey.-
    At Henson Park, Saturday 9th September 2017.

    Division Five:
    Preliminary Final
    University of Technology 3.3 4.6 8.7 8.10 (58)
    Camden 2.3 5.4 8.6 8.8 (56)
    Goals : UTS –
    D Casarotto 2, L Nevin 2, B Watt, P Mullane, P Kolasa, L Habel. Camden – M Broadstock 3, B Laid 2, M Wells, A Sneddon, T Hoch.
    Best : UTS – N Hawke, A O’Donaghoe, B Watt, P Mullane, A Ryder, A Phillips-Chantelois. Camden – D McKay, J Ykmour, J Rawlings, L Doherty, C Passlow, M Broadstock.
    At Henson Park, Saturday 9th September 2017.

    Women Division One:
    Preliminary Final
    Western Magic 0.1 0.4 2.10 5.13 (43)
    Manly-Warringah 0.0 0.0 1.0 1.0 (6)
    Goals : Magic –
    A Weir 2, T Kleyn 2, J Green. Manly – R Howard.
    Best : Magic – J Mann, C Corr, M Jansen, B Gillespie, A Weir, M O’Keeffe. Manly – A Carter, J Trim, I Tremauville, J Layton, Z Watts, R Lewis.
    At Henson Park, Saturday 9th September 2017.


    FIRST GRAND FINAL DAY
    The first four premiership trophies of the season were up for grabs at Blacktown International Sportspark on Sunday; as the competitions that had four team finals series played their Grand Finals.

    Under 19s Division Two
    The first game for the day was the Under 19s Division Two Grand Final. South-West Cats were the minor premiers and first to qualify, and were up against Southern Power who had made their way through from the First Semi-Final.
    The Power had a bright start, and were looking the stronger side early. Two goals to one in favour of the Power gave them a five-point lead at quarter time. But the Cats steadied at the quarter time and the defence tightened; and the Power were unable to penetrate the big sticks in the second term. At the other end, two goals to the Cats gave them the lead, and they went to the rooms at half time with a four-point lead.
    It had been a low-scoring and defensive first half. But the game opened up in the third term, and suddenly the goals flowed faster. With the more open game, the Cats were best positioned to take advantage; and a return of four goals to three extended their lead to 15 points at the last change.
    The game wasn’t done yet, but the Power never looked like bridging the gap. The Cats appeared to have the game under control, and with three goals to two in the final quarter the margin was stretched to 25 points when the final siren sounded.
    Will Gamble rolled the dice up forward and came out a winner with four goals for the Cats; while Jarrod Coomby, Josh Purcell and Damon Franke were the Cats’ best. A joint venture of Camden and South-West Sydney, it was a challenge with training and games spread over two grounds. But working together, they got it done and have a share of premiership honours.
    Ben Travers, Jack Woolmer and Brad Querzoli were best for Southern Power. No premiership for them, but in their first season for a few years with an Under 19s team, they’ve developed some useful players who will be a part of the club’s future.
    South-West Cats 1.4 3.4 7.10 10.15 (75)
    Southern Power 2.3 2.6 5.7 7.8 (50)
    Goals : SW Cats –
    W Gamble 4, J Upfill 2, J Coomby, N Breen, D Whyman, D Franke. Power – H Tattersall 2, S Lienert 2, B Travers, R Sloan, B Querzoli.
    Best : SW Cats – J Coomby, J Purcell, D Franke, A Lombardo, L Phipps, W Gamble. Power – B Travers, J Woolmer, B Querzoli, J Bennie, H Tattersall, C Keenan.
    At Blacktown International Sportspark, Sunday 10th September 2017.

    Under 19s Division One
    Up next was the Under 19s Division One Grand Final, with North Shore taking on St George. The Bombers were aiming for their third straight premiership and had been first to make it through to the Grand Final; while the Dragons were hoping to reverse the result of the Second Semi-Final.
    The first quarter was evenly contested, with both sides taking time to test each other out and few flaws from either side being particularly evident. It was two goals apiece in the first term and scores were level at quarter time. But the Dragons took the upper hand in the second quarter, a quarter which had been tight for most of the time but a late surge by St George handed them a 17-point half time lead.
    It was a lead the Bombers were unable to overcome during the premiership quarter. When the Bombers needed to lift, they were unable to get it done. Instead it was St George who rose to the occasion, the Dragons breathing fire with a return of four goals to one for the quarter extending the lead to 35 points at three quarter time.
    The game was safely won, and the last quarter saw the Dragons coasting with the premiership so close they could smell it. The Bombers won the last quarter by three goals to one, cutting the final margin to 27 points. But it was the Dragons who would drink from the premiership cup, to the rousing approval of the Dragon army on the hill.
    Connor Flanagan, Kyle McKellar and Dominic Soffe were standout contributors for St George; on a day when their junior development work was rewarded. North Shore’s dream of a premiership three-peat was not to be; but Charlie Sennitt, Chris Loone and Alec Morgan kept working hard all day.
    Both the Dragons and Bombers have fielded teams in both Under 19s competitions this season; and the players they have given game time to will be a cornerstone of their clubs for years to come.
    St George 2.3 5.4 9.7 10.13 (73)
    North Shore 2.3 2.5 3.8 6.10 (46)
    Goals : St George –
    E Maher 3, D Soffe 3, M Saunders, J Pearson, P Tegg, K Ayres. North Shore – C Sennitt 3, M Buskariol 2, R Barkley.
    Best : St George – C Flanagan, K McKellar, D Soffe, P Tegg, K Ayres, A Markos. North Shore – C Sennitt, C Loone, A Morgan, R Barkley, N Brewer, J Brasher.
    At Blacktown International Sportspark, Sunday 10th September 2017.

    Women Premier Division
    Up next was the Womens premier Division clash, where UNSW-ES were taking on Sydney Uni. The two teams had paced each other through the season, with the Stingrays getting up in the Second Semi-Final before the Bombers bounced back in the Preliminary Final. And with some GWS AFLW players in both teams, it was a star-studded Grand Final.
    Nothing separated the two sides in the first quarter, with the play evenly contested and two goals apiece were scored. It had been close and tight, and the defensive trend would continue in the second term as the ball travelled around the midfield but struggled to make its way to the attacking 50 metre lines. The Stingrays scored the only goal in the second quarter; and took a nine-point lead to half time.
    To the delight of an extremely vocal UNSW-ES crowd decked out in stingray costumes, UNSW-ES assumed the dominant position in the premiership quarter, with a devastating burst of football that blew the game open and put the game out of the Bombers’ reach. The Stingrays would add five goals in the third term while holding the Bombers scoreless, consistently finding superior numbers around the ball and creating space to move the ball forward. By the time the three quarter time siren sounded, the Stingrays held a 42-point lead and the game was secure.
    But the Stingrays were in no mood to take their foot off the gas, and with their opponents sore and deflated, they continued their imposing form in the final quarter. The quarter would yield five goals to one, blowing the final margin to 67 points.
    Belinda Pride stood out in the forward line to kick four goals for the Stingrays; while Jasmine Smith, Phoebe Monahan and Sandra Janjetovic made key contributions around the ground. For Sydney Uni, Nicola Barr, Pippy Clegg and Jennifer Lew kept working hard all day.
    It’s been a remarkable year for womens’ footy, and the numbers continue to grow. The standard continues to grow, and the Stingrays have sent the benchmark for the womens’ game in Sydney.
    Uni NSW-Eastern Suburbs 2.0 3.4 8.7 13.8 (86)
    Sydney University 2.0 2.1 2.1 3.1 (19)
    Goals : UNSW-ES –
    B Pride 4, J Smith 3, J Lew 2, I Nielsen, R McGee, N Moore, R Goodman. Sydney Uni – R Stack 2, K Sutcliffe.
    Best : UNSW-ES – J Smith, P Monahan, S Janjetovic, R McGee, B Pride, M Collier. Sydney Uni – N Barr, P Clegg, J Lew, A Roditis, K Sutcliffe, E Brush.
    At Blacktown International Sportspark, Sunday 10th September 2017.

    Division Three
    The last Grand Final of the day was the decider for Division Three, with North Shore taking on Camden. Both teams were in their first season in this division after being promoted for this year; but both clubs had only lost one game during the regular season, to each other. North Shore qualified through the Second Semi-Final, but Camden then got through the Preliminary Final to set up a re-match.
    But it didn’t take long for it to be clear this was going to be a one-sided affair. From the start, the Bombers were dominant and took control of the game. Facing little resistance in taking the ball into their attacking 50, and with a couple of remarkable goals from impossible angles, North Shore kept the scoreboard ticking over; and only some inaccurate finishing prevented the margin from blowing out further. But as it was, the Bombers kicked five unanswered goals in the first term, to lead by 34 points at quarter time.
    Although the Cats were able to get two goals in the second term, they were still struggling to keep up with the red-hot Bombers. North Shore continued to dictate terms around the ground, and by adding a further three goals they stretched the lead to 40 points at the long break. The Cats attempted to get back into the game in the third term, but missed shots cost them any chance of getting back to within striking distance. The third term netted one goal apiece, and for all Camden’s efforts they had closed the gap by just three points and the Bombers remained 37 points ahead at the last change.
    Day was turning into night and the clock was counting down to the Bombers’ premiership party through the final quarter. The Cats, feeling the dream slipping away, found the frustration setting in with a series of silly frees and 50 metre penalties. Four goals to three in favour of the Bombers would extend the final margin to 47 points.
    Josh Brennan scored four goals for the Bombers; while Roger Jones, Zac Manley and Blake Linford were ball magnets around the ground. For the Cats, Ben Yakimov, Craig Trewhella and Victor Musgrave were their best.
    For both clubs it was their first in Division Three; but they rose to their promotion to be the standouts. But it was North Shore who emerged as the strongest team in this division for the year. A reflection of the depth and skill at the club.
    North Shore 5.8 8.9 9.11 13.15 (93)
    Camden 0.4 2.5 3.10 6.10 (46)
    Goals : North Shore –
    J Brennan 4, Z Manley 2, B Bourn 2, B Linford 2, S Bear, H Stibberd, R Jones. Camden – A Noyce 2, C Murray, R Sheehan, L Aliphon, M Halteh.
    Best : North Shore – Z Manley, R Jones, B Linford, J Brennan, R Boyd. Camden – B Yakimov, C Trewhella, V Musgrave, R Sheehan, L Jesson, S Rooke.
    At Blacktown International Sportspark, Sunday 10th September 2017.


    GRAND FINAL DAY
    The big day in the Sydney footy calendar is next Saturday at Blacktown International Sportspark, as the Premier Division Grand Final, along with Division One and Division Two Grand Finals, are played.
    Sydney Uni and Pennant Hills will be the combatants in the showpiece game of the season. The Students are also represented in Division One, where they will take on St George. Division Two will see North Shore and Wests fight it out to be the first to lift a premiership cup on the day.
    The schedule for next Saturday at Blacktown is:
    9:45am – Division Two – North Shore v Western Suburbs
    12:15pm – Division One – Sydney Uni v St George
    3:00pm – Premier Division – Sydney Uni v Pennant Hills

    THIRD GRAND FINAL DAY
    In what may be a first in Sydney footy, the Premier Division Grand Final day does not conclude the season. There’s one more day of footy, and three more premiership cups up for grabs at Blacktown on Sunday.
    The day starts with Wests taking on UTS for the Division Five honours. The Bats are also in the Division Four Grand Final, where their opponents will be St George. And the Womens Division One Grand Final will lower the curtain on the season, with Wollongong in action against Western Magic.
    9:30am – Division Five – Western Suburbs v UTS
    12:00pm – Division Four – St George v UTS
    2:30pm – Women Division One – Wollongong v Western Magic
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  2. #2
    Great report Norris - thanks for keeping us informed.

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